I noticed few months ago how my mood and emotions were easily get swayed by my constant use of technology and in particular, social media. Having had dealt with depression and anxiety in the past I had just assumed that these are after effects I would deal with when handling social situations or interactions and it would be up to me to manage how I let it affect me. I think most of us could admit we spend more time on our phones than we probably should but when I started noticing myself getting more anxious due to the excessive usage but feeling completely at ease when I would let my phone down for hours on end , it was a no brainer for me that technology or social media can have a serious affect on your mental health, all that was left for me to do if find out how or why.
Not so long ago I officially became a ‘Goopie’ ( although I’m yet to fit into their financial bracket, I resonate with the holistic lifestyle Goop encourages) I stumbled upon a fascinating article on digital detox and the scientific facts on the affects technology has on us and how in a technology driven world where business expect you to be engulfed by the monstrosity of it all, it is still possible and advisable to take moments off and keep in touch with simple life pleasures.
Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, who treats a range of addictive behaviors as executive director at a renowned rehab center in New York, says that ‘screen addictions can be more difficult to treat than drugs’, crazy right? ‘The average teenager now spends eleven hours per day in front of a screen, says Kardaras. Beyond the concern of what’s missed during this time (outdoor activity, face-to-face interactions), research has connected screen time to ADHD, anxiety, depression, increased aggression, and even psychosis.’
Running a blog often requires you to have your eyes glued to your phone, always on the look out for inspiration and content ideas and it’s been very important for me to learn to manage my cell phone use and challenge myself to look for inspiration outside of the realms of the internet. Here’s some of the ways I’ve been doing that.
Vinaya is a fairly new phone detox app that is swift and easy to use. It allows you to set a reminder for when you have been on your phone for too long and guides you on ways to minimize your phone usage as well as filter notifications on which enable you to focus on the ones that are important. There are different categories within the app like Mindfulness, Daily Dose Of Wisdom for introspection and reflection and Personalized Insights for you to learn how your digital habits contribute to your overall well being.
Create a rule for yourself that when you are out and around friends that you can be on your phone at least once or twice during the course of the interaction or completely ban the use of phones at the table. I try to stay away from my phone when I’m out for lunch or dinner by placing my phone down or putting it in my bag and only reaching for It if it’s really necessary.
One of my favorite ways of occupying my mind is to read , it’s a great distraction and stimulates your mind. I’m still reading ‘Meditate Your Mind by Tiffany Cruikshank ‘ , with only 6 more days out of the 21 day program in the book , I am already setting my eyes on the next novel.
Go cold turkey
There has been times where I have found myself completely down and out and feeling those pesky side effects of social media overload and once every few weeks, I try delete one of my three main social media accounts, just for a day or two and re group. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes and your mind is given a chance to breathe and make time to think of other things.